Explosive return men highlight Maryland, Rutgers showdown
Who: Maryland vs. Rutgers
When: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
Where: High Point Solutions Stadium, Rutgers
TV: Big Ten Network
Spread: Maryland -1
Matchup to watch: Leonte Carroo vs. Sean Davis
Two of the conference’s future pros should square off in physical matchup out wide. Carroo has been banged up by injuries all season, but he said “it’s not even a thought” as to whether or not he’d be on the field Saturday. Davis has also dealt with injuries of his own, but both know what’s at stake on Saturday. It’s money. It’s a chance for both to give NFL scouts a good look at what they can do against a future pro. The question could be whether or not we see the full version of Carroo. Davis isn’t necessarily a guy you want to be against less than 100 percent.
Thing I’m excited to see: The battle for the Rodgers-Dwight Return Award
The most exciting plays of the day could come on special teams. Maryland and Rutgers boast the B1G’s top two return men in Janarion Grant and Will Likely. Both could be competing for the new award that the conference just announced on Tuesday. You could debate which is better, or you can just hope that one of them breaks off a monster return on Saturday to decide it. And while both figure to be given opportunities in the return game, they could also get a handful of carries on offense. Either way, there isn’t any debate who the two most electric playmakers in uniform will be on Saturday.
Number to remember: 2
Those are the amount of times in which Maryland had a game decided by two touchdowns or less. And for what it’s worth, the Terps lost both of those games. This one could easily be decided by a touchdown or less, which would put Maryland in somewhat unfamiliar territory. It’s rare to see a team without much late-game experience in the regular-season finale. But for a team that turns the ball over more than anyone, that has to be troubling. They squandered opportunities down the stretch against Penn State and Wisconsin by turning the ball over in the fourth quarter. If Maryland wants to stop the bleeding, it can’t give a depleted Rutgers secondary a gift late.
Prediction: Rutgers 35, Maryland 28
As I said, I think Maryland’s lack of late-game experience down the stretch in this one. We still don’t know whether or not Perry Hills or Caleb Rowe will be healthy by Saturday, which means it could be up to Shane Cockerille, who has never made a start before. I thought Rutgers finally established an identity running the ball last week and could have similar success with Paul James against the Terps. Rutgers technically still has an outside shot to make a bowl game if 5-7 teams are needed. That could come down to Academic Progress Rate (APR). It would be all sorts of ironic if Kyle Flood got Rutgers into a bowl game because of its APR.